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who are you before, during and post cancer?
klay
91 Posts
Hello all....

I came across this article and I would like to share it.

It speaks to me about everything I've gone through and go through. Who am I now? "Scanxiety" ,new normal, fears, facing mortality, hope.

The article talks about the getting your diagnosis and the aftermath of cancer.

The main take away is to find "your people"...your community. Surround yourself with love and knowledge.

We have that here...family.

This is the link for the article.

Sending you all so much love

Karen XO ❤

https://www.washingtonpost.com/health/2022/06/13/cancer-identity-change/
11 Replies
klay
91 Posts

You may have to copy the link and paste in your browser. :) I don't think the link worked.

Mosi
117 Posts

@klay Great article. Thank you so much for sharing. I was very slow to understand the lasting impact that this diagnosis will have. I am in the throws of the fight right now and still have not admitted I am living with cancer. I am in battle. I look at the ways that this cancer has impacted me such as early retirement, the loss of a great man, the fears in my daughter’s eyes, and the admission I am not superhuman (almost an admission). This article highlights that even when it does not live within us we live with it.
Thank you again for sharing.

klay
91 Posts

@Mosi

I wish you nothing but love and best wishes with your fight..you've been through so much…don't give up!…I didn't admit to myself that I was fighting for my life even when the doctors told me to" get my affairs in order"…I have heard that twice and it finally hit me that it was real and happening to me. Surreal and numbing.

I went from having little cares in the world and living my best life to having the brakes put on hard and fast..not being able to be in control was so hard for me…I was successful at work and I loved my job and now I can't do it… but again I'm here and I feel like it's so important for us to share and tell our stories… everything has a purpose right?

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't have mixed emotions… the blessings of being here to tell my story and then the daily reminders that I'm not out of the fight yet.

I understand the sadness you feel when you look into the eyes of your daughter..this is something I pray my children never, ever have to go through. Life is just so fragile.

Stay strong

Karen XO ❤

Sadie12
185 Posts

“As my hair grew and the physical ailments faded, … it’s like the scars are gone and the world doesn’t see that I still live with it.”

This is so true, @klay . I was telling a coworker about how difficult it was to get a new family doctor in our part of the province, after mine closed his practice. I told her that I had found one who would take me, but not my husband or 7 year old…only because I was a priority case.

She looked at me like I had two heads and said ‘Why, because you are the mom of the household?’ (She knew I had been off work with cancer)

Uhmmm…no…because I'm in remission from cancer but still in treatment.

Again, she looked at me like I had 2 heads. It wasn't a conversation I needed to expand on and educate her on what it's like to live with the cloud of possible recurrence.

My life has certainly changed since cancer diagnosis, all bundled in with my changed family situation and the pandemic. Some changes are good…I have experienced more clarity and more peace and I don't sweat the small things anymore. I really put wellness at the top of my priority list. I've connected with great people on this site who get it. I do have a hard time trying to plan for the future, without thinking…geez, will I be here long enough to finish that project or actually move to a different property for our retirement plan.

Going through surgery/treatment/recovery while having small children was very hard. I keep thinking how it will be for my family if I have to go through that again or if my husband gets sick. It's something that I didn't think about prior to having cancer.

Sadie

klay
91 Posts

@Sadie12

I agree that unless you've been through this you don't understand the lasting trauma this causes. I think I was also in denial that it couldn't happen to me.

I was 12 when my mom got sick with her brain tumor and I was shielded from how sick she was… and she survived and I honestly thought that was the way life was..you got sick and then got better.

I remember a conversation I had with my dad before he passed. He hugged me and said “I'm dying”…I am the baby is the family and I didn't know"death"… my grandparents passed away over seas and I never met them. I was so shocked… what do you say… so I remember I said..well dad we are all mortal and we all will. I was in total denial of how sick my dad was. Inow realize how traumatic it was for my dad to tell me those words.knowing he was looking straight in the face of death. Then it happened to me and it's numbing.

Your co-worker obviously can't understand what you're going through… to be honest until my dad got cancer I didn't understand how much it would change everyone's lives..what day to day life was like for him… them when I got it I truly understood and then felt guilty thinking I hadn't done enough.

I am so thankful you have got a doctor. I hope your family is able to get one also. But you are a priority and your health needs to be taken care of.

@Sadie12 you are one of the people in my life I'm so blessed to have.

Take care my friend ❤

@klay and @Sadie12

I'm sitting with tears running down my face. Again. This is what makes this community so special. How can people I don't even know the real name of feel so close? And over a simple well written newspaper article. I spend a lot of time in the cancer world. Some folks say too much. But I always hasten to add I have other interests (Think Creation Nation…)

I talk about the drumbeat of urgency. I hear that beat getting faster and faster. I'm stable. With my cancer, that is all that I can ask. Research isn't moving fast enough to cure me.

I hate the term “new normal." I think it denies the reality that each of us find a new balance in our lives but there is nothing normal about it. Normal seems like a slow drift to the center. And life isn't lived in the center. I live on the edges. As I head out into a snow storm in June to camp (maybe.) Is that normal? I came across the term “ordinary” yesterday and it has been sticking in my head that maybe it works. We have new routines, new ways of looking at things, and new ways of living. Maybe ordinary is a better way of capturing the new routines than normal. Dunno.

I love the growing recognition of the trauma component. I was unfamiliar with post-traumatic growth literature. The link in the article was a rabbit hole I will return to. (Role of Resilience in Post-Tramautic Growth in Breast Cancer Patients) I have long known there is a personality trait that seems to be able to predicate how some patients will do with the life-threatening diagnosis. I suspected that it was resilience. My question is can it be fostered. The answer seems to be yes and that peer support plays a vital role in it. Hence the importance and strength of this community.

So many questions and only a shortened life to answer them. Thank you for starting my day with this poignant reminder of why I do what I do.

Angus

klay
91 Posts

@WestCoastSailor

Angus…YOU are an inspiration and a bright beacon of hope. I have read many of your posts and they are so poignant and meaningful. You have opened your heart openly to all of us.

I love my family and my friends but they cannot understand the grasp of the PTSD I suffer. I'm so thankful for this forum for information and to be a sounding board.

The article shows we are a family… without knowing one another or being able to share a hug.

My Dr told me that having a cancer diagnosis would be like carrying a rock on my shoulder. She was right…I wish I could knock that rock off.

My husband was almost killed at work March 24th of this year. He's a heavy equipment operator and he was knocked to the ground and pinned by his heavy machine… unstable for four days then finally surgery to repair a broken hip and femur. He is slowly recovering and my role from being cared for by him has turned into us helping one another. He wakes up screaming, panicked at night from PTSD and I truly understand his feelings.

Angus I hope those tears were good tears, cleansing tears…I always feel lighter after one of my good cries.

I still throw up everyday… my bloodwork is a mess… I'm exhausted…I am waiting for more surgery… but I'm here!

Take care my friend

Karen XO ❤

strike
12 Posts

Hello Karen and Angus and others….

I also had tears well up as I read what people are dealing with. I am so deeply touched by the courage, wisdom and showing up as we are…..up or down, angry/sad exhausted/energized/scared/venting. And the sense of community with people I have never met….the understanding and compassion.

I read the posts and altho I don't respond often, I do listen. For those of you going through treatments still caring for young children, those waiting for appts or results, those in pain, throwing up, or scared…..I “hold you” daily.

Going through treatments is definitely traumatic. I know I certainly feel changed physically and emotionally.

i realised recently that I may never feel as celebratory as my friends or family about making it through my treatments and, I guess you would call me, in remission. I am truly grateful, however, I can't bring myself to say I am cancer free. I say I am doing ok at this time, and that feels like I am keeping some kind of defence. As well, there are ongoing side effects from the treatments that I don't talk alot about. I don't dwell on the fear of recurrance, but it is certainly a hum in the background.

Sending you all my warmest wishes for the best care, support and healing.

Sarah

klay
91 Posts

@strike

Sarah

I also hold you in my best wishes…I wish none of us had to go through this… how amazing is it that we have one another.

I have learned so much from others on this site… I've learned alot about myself throughout this whole process.

Am I more patient? Absolutely not lol am I'm grateful yes. Am I angry? Absolutely am I using my whole heart..yes

I'm wishing you continued progress!

Karen XO ❤

Whitelilies
2343 Posts

@klay Hi Karen…….I am wishing YOU the best ! Every.Single.Day.

Hugs

Whitelilies

klay
91 Posts
Whitelilies

​​​​​​thank you for always checking up on me ❤ you do so much for so many willingly and always with love

I'm thankful for you ❤

Karen XO ❤‍
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